Twigger- funny name that- where's it from? A small tribe, Twiggers congregate most densely around the midlands of Britain where, in bygone centuries, apparently, they were often employed as canal boat navigators. Now as a canal only has two directions it doesn't sound the most demanding of jobs...Another derivation has the Twiggers arriving from Denmark, armed but tradeless, with the Angles (not the Saxons) somewhere up north. Ned Twigger is a character in Charles Dickens' Mudfog and other Sketches- a friendly and expansive chap. Earlier a 'twigger' was a 17th century slang word for a strumpet. Hmm. In the World War II graves of El Alamein in Egypt there is one Twigger in the Allied section but two in the German cemetary. Another mystery. I have been called every possible improvisation on the word twigger since early years and actually if I hear a new variation I have gone from hating it to rather liking the attention.
"Robert Twigger is a British author and explorer who has been described as, 'a 19th Century adventurer trapped in the body of a 21st Century writer'. He attended Oxford University and later spent a year training at Martial Arts with the Tokyo Riot Police. He has won the Newdigate prize for poetry, the Somerset Maugham award for literature and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award. In 1997, whilst on an expedition in Northern Borneo, he discovered a line of menhirs crossing into Kalimantan. In 1998 He was part of the team that caught the world's longest snake- documented in the Channel 4/National Geographic film and book Big Snake; later he was the leader of the expedition that was the first to cross Western Canada in a birchbark canoe since 1793. Most recently, in 2009-2010, he led an expedition that was the first to cross the 700 km Great Sand Sea of the Egyptian Sahara solely on foot. He has also written for newspapers and magazines such as The Daily Telegraph, Maxim and Esquire, and has published several poetry collections, including one in 2003, with Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing.
Robert has published Real Men Eat Puffer Fish (2008), a humorous but comprehensive guide to frequently overlooked but not exclusively masculine pastimes, while his latest novel Dr. Ragab's Universal Language, was published to acclaim in July 2009. Robert now lives in Cairo, a move chronicled in his book Lost Oasis. He has lead several desert expeditions with 'The Explorer School'.
Robert has given lectures on the topic of 'Lifeshifting', an approach which emphasises the need to centre one's life around meaning-driven motivation. Drawing on experiences working with indigenous peoples from around the world, he has spoken on 'work tribes' and polymathy. He has also spoken on leadership. Some of these talks have been to companies such as Procter and Gamble, Maersk Shipping, SAB Miller and Oracle computing.
I have always been a firelighter. As a child I loved being in the scouts and lighting campfires, staring into the embers long after dark. Now, whenever I get the chance I like to head off into the wilderness, walk for a while, set up camp and light a campfire. Years ago I learnt from Ray Mears how to light a fire with a bow drill. He also taught me how to light a fire with a single match- every time. On all my expeditions this has been a singularly useful skill. I now see that in life success sometimes depends on a single attempt- no second chances. Unlike Woody in Toy Story, when your match blows out, your fire remains unlit. But other times you get nervous thinking you only have one match when actually you have a whole box in another pocket, if only you looked. I now see my challenge as helping others to light fires, metaphocially, learn the skill of lighting fires with a single match or maybe none, and succeed in their own challenges...
Praise for Robert Twigger's Work
Adrian Turpin of The Independent called him “The Adventurer Philosophical” and his eclectic range of travel books to remote places focus on adventure, hardship and humour.
“Wholly Original. A tour de force.” Will Self
“Remarkable, enjoyable and difficult to categorise,” New Scientist
"Robert Twigger is an inspiring author. Read his books." Nick Hodgson, Kaiser Chiefs
“A unique and dazzling talent,” Tony Parsons
“Deliriously Clever,” New York Times
"A bona fide media daredevil with brains and balls beyond the norm" Daily Telegraph
“Riveting,” Washington Post
“A yarn that manages to be ripping, thoughtful and times very, very funny,” Maxim
“A book of unexpected brilliance... subtle, funny, stimulating and original,” Patrick French
“A frantic, very funny urban quest,” Simon Garfield
“A modern classic and the best martial arts book ever. It's cool.” Angharad Jackson
“Another terrific read.” Katherine Lacey, Oxford Times
“The most intriguing sports book ever to win the William Hill sports book of the year award.” Daily Mail
“Robert Twigger's books have won him acclaim as a writer of enormous energy and originality,” The Scotsman
“Poetry in motion,” Sue Townsend
The above infomation sourced by the excellent Dr Garry Shaw